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Provenance Research

Results of the research, thus far, have shown that 20 of the paintings were not confiscations resulting from National Socialist persecution, while 4 others clearly were. The heirs of the original owners of these 4 paintings have since been identified and compensated. The provenance of the majority of the 140 paintings acquired between 1935 and 1945, however, remains unclear due to gaps in the historical record.

During the last phase of the project, between January and December 2014, an “accidental” discovery revealed the origins of the painting “Refreshment” by Hans von Marées, which made its way into the collections of Museum Wiesbaden as a gift in 1980. The painting was returned to the heirs of its rightful owner Max Silberberg and repurchased for the museum’s collections in April 2014.

Press release on the restitution of the painting by Hans von Marées. (in German). 

Current and Future Projects

The Central Office for Provenance Research in Hesse was established at Museum Wiesbaden in January 2015 to enable the three state museums — Wiesbaden, Kassel and Darmstadt — to fulfill their promise to clarify the ownership of NS confiscated art and cultural goods in their collections. In the first stage of its work, the two provenance researchers, Miriam Olivia Merz and Ulrike Schmiegelt-Rietig, will determine the status of research at the state museums of Hesse and, together with the museums, draw up a list of items with suspicious provenance records.

Central Office for Provenance Research in Hesse. (In German).